Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Strange Light in Sky Is A Rocket Launch

Strange Light in Sky Is A Rocket Launch

Those near the base, which is near Lompoc, may be able to see quite a show as the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket burns its rocket engines to come to a gentle landing back at the air force base, officials said.

The mission was also SpaceX's first to include a successful land recovery of the rocket's booster stage at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The primary objective of Sunday's mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also successfully sent a first stage booster back to the base for the first time. Residents in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties may hear sonic booms.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from a launch pad in Florida on March 30, 2017.

The upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 is part of SpaceX's plan for vastly cheaper and more efficient spaceflight.

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The rocket being used in Sunday's mission was previously employed in a June launch. At the time, the launch was scheduled to occur from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean where SpaceX launched the now retired Falcon 1.

SAOCOM 1A 3,000-kilogram satellite built by INVAP and this deployment was done in conjunction with Argentina's space agency with the objective of radar-imaging the earth. Elon Musk's company had leased a former Titan rocket launch site in 2015 to build its own landing pad, but it it hasn't received clearance. The satellite is created to provide radar imagery to help emergency responders and monitor the environment, including the collection of soil moisture measurements.

The satellite's twin, SAOCOM-1B, will also launch on a Falcon 9; its liftoff is targeted for next year.

Shortly afterward SpaceX confirmed that SAOCOM 1A had been successfully deployed in record time.

Viewers took to social media to speculate on the rocket, which was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, which is about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

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